Alternative Mental Health

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Mental health problems are extremely common with as much as a quarter of the population suffering from a mental health problem in any one year.

Currently, there is no test that can diagnose a mental health problem so the only way to determine if someone is suffering from a mental health problem is the presence of certain symptoms.

Conventional treatment will usually consist of some form of anti-depressant perhaps along with some kind of psychotherapy in order to deal with the symptoms. There is no single identifiable treatment option which works for all and in most cases it’s a matter of trial and error to see what works.

Consequently, many people prefer to take an alternative approach to dealing with a mental health problem, which usually means a non-drug approach. So what options are there?

The alternative approach to mental health treatment

The alternative approach to mental health treatment is more likely to involve treating the whole person and not just the symptoms, in other words taking a more holistic approach. There are a number of ways to incorporate alternative treatment for mental health problems.

The first of these is self help and what you can do to ease your suffering. By ensuring that you eat a healthy and balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, adhere to regular sleeping patterns, avoid the use of alcohol and substances and find plenty of time to relax, then this can only benefit your mental and physical health and could be enough in some people to alleviate depression and anxiety.

Other options include the following:

•    Art Based Therapies – there are a number of therapies that can help which can include art, music, dance, or creative expression therapies.

•    Acupuncture – an ancient Chinese practice of inserting needles at particular energy points in the body to unblock and improve the flow of energy throughout the body

•    Yoga – can calm the troubled mind and bring about a relaxed state of being. Involves breathing exercises, posture and meditation

•    Massage Therapy – can help to release tension and help you deal with stress and suppressed emotions as well as improve the blood flow throughout the body. Often used in conjunction with aromatherapy

•    St. John’s Wort – a herbal remedy that has often been touted as nature’s prozac, it works in much the same way that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs work but without the unpleasant side effects associated with prescription drugs

•    Fish Oil – fish oil contains the omega 3 fatty acids that we now know are vital for mental and physical health. The fatty acid that is getting the most attention these days both in alternative and conventional medicine is Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA. Numerous studies have shown that a daily dose of EPA fish oil can alleviate the symptoms of mental health problems even when the mental health problems are severe.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with a mental health problem, the important thing is to find something that works for you.

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